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3 areas where the Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) will aid my career aspirations (application essay)

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  • Published: 19th December 2019
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This paper explores three areas where the Doctor of Strategic Leadership (DSL) will aid my career aspirations. To begin, two classes from the 2018-2019 Degree Completion plan facilitate improving my knowledge of various strategic leadership theories and enables me to make sound decisions on how I hire, retain, and lead those within my organization. The second area discussed is how to leverage the outcomes from the DSL to effectively conduct strategic planning and risk management in my current business efforts. The final area discussed the importance of developing management solutions for problems and issues that arise in the workplace, including risk management. For this area, two classes, continued research, and further writings are mentioned that will aid in accomplishing my career goals.

Keywords: strategic leadership, coaching theory, social identity theory

Enabling Career Aspirations

Thousands of people have obtained doctoral degrees and to be sure, they were both anxious and excited as they began their studies. So is the same for me as I embarked on this daunting journey. Obtaining a DSL is a significant accomplishment in one’s professional career. For me, this goal came to light in 2017 as I started my own business, Intelligent Nutrition. As a business owner, my career aspirations are to create a legacy company that provides cost-effective nutritional and health products that enrich people’s lives. In pursuit of these efforts, it is important to ask how the DSL will enable those aspirations. I have identified three areas where the DSL will enable my career; improve knowledge of leadership theories and practices, learn strategies to more effectively manage teams and increase my ability to developing viable management solutions for my business. Together, exploring these three areas will enable my career aspirations.


Leadership is a widely studied topic that can trace its roots to biblical times. In fact, the Bible has countless examples of good and bad leadership practices. Take for example the leaders discussed in 1 Kings, the likes of David and Solomon, who exemplified wisdom and knowledge. Yet there were others, like the three Kings of Judah and the six Kings of Israel that were corrupt and labelled by Merida as “Eight Wicked Kings and One Mostly Good King” (Merida, 2017). As I look to the future, I realized to more effectively lead others I needed to be more like David and Solomon and less like the nine Kings of Judah and Israel. To achieve this end state, I enrolled in the DSL program at Liberty University. To begin, the DSL will increase my knowledge and understanding of the various theories and applications of strategic leadership as I continue to build my business.

Leadership Theory

Being able to motivate others to accomplish a common goal is one of many definitions of leadership. For my business, we have adopted the following definition of leadership, “the capacity to influence people, by means of personal attributes and/or behaviors, to achieve a common goal” (Ali Butt, 2017). Since all employees of Intelligent Nutrition are operating off that definition, it is important that I have a thorough understanding of strategic leadership theories and practices.

The DSL program, specifically BMAL 702 Leadership Theory and Practice, will allow me to increase my knowledge of the various strategic leadership theories and practices and grow others as they define their leadership style. This is extremely important as today’s business environment often requires the use of one or more leadership style and technique for any given situations.
For example, I plan on hiring a nutritionist and for that reason I need to increase my understanding of strategic leadership as it relates to leading health care professionals. Research found that health care professionals preferred strategic and coaching styles the best (Cunningham, et.al., 2015). To meet this end state, the DSL will facilitate my knowledge of leading health care professionals in my organization.

Even though BMAL 700 Orientation to Doctoral Studies is in the second week, I can already see the connection to my career goals. The class has and continues to aid me in identifying my leadership style. By studying and learning about various leadership theories and implementing their best practices, I am better postured to more effectively hire, retain, and lead those filling the nutritionist position. I can apply the same process when I hire fitness instructors, store managers, or accounting personnel.

Like many others, I live and work in a multi-cultural environment and as such I am interested in researching how to effectively lead in that environment. Increasing my knowledge in this area will add depth to my leadership abilities and also provide me a more thorough understanding of how to more effectively lead others from different cultures. The DSL affords me the opportunity to conduct research in this area of social identity theory, explore other cultures, and lead others in a multi-cultural environment.

Intelligent Nutrition is partnering with Nu_America, a company with its own strategy, culture, and agenda. The DSL can assist in this area as I learn more about the theory of social construction which outlines how “individuals have a particular lens through which they view the world” (Fine, 2015). This research is value added to my career as my success is connected to that of Nu_America, a partner with its own strategy and agenda.

With a firm understanding of the strategic theories and practices found in the health care industry and multi-cultural environments, I am better postured to use that knowledge to plan future business endeavors, influence subordinates and achieve long and short-term goals.

Strategic Planning

Planning, both long and short-term, is extremely important for a business. With sound planning comes the responsibility of sound decision making. Although most plans are overcome quickly by change, leaders are expected to make sound decisions that solve the various problems encountered in today’s work environment. Without goals and objectives, one would argue that an organization often loses their competitive edge, employees job satisfaction dwindles, supervisors make uninformed decisions and trust is degraded.
From what I have read, BMAL 720, Strategic Data Analytics & Decision Making is a good fit for my career goals as it focusses on decision making as it applies to strategic leadership and data analytics. In my business, I must stay abreast of emerging technologies and advancement in nutrition. This is no easy task. The DSL will improve my ability to sift through technical data, analyze it for its importance and make sound decisions for the benefit of Intelligent Nutrition. Research indicates that when leading information technology (IT) professionals, a key element for leaders was to motivate IT professional to reach their maximum potential and make good technical decisions (Bennett, 2009). Granted, Intelligent Nutrition is not an IT company, but the research by Bennett should be considered as the nutrition industry is very technical.

I look forward to learning about the concepts outlined in BMAL 714, Strategic Risk Management Process and Practice. This is another aspect of planning that will benefit my career goals as I rediscover and learn more about risk management. This is a topic that comes up frequently as I build my business. For example, should I enter into a contract with company a or company b, should Intelligent Nutrition expand or contract? I envision that the DSL will provide a more holistic approach to identifying and implementing risk management solutions.
I hope to compare and contrast process the strategies outlined in BMAL 714 to the risk management strategies I learned in the military. Research shows that the typical organizations loses 5% of its revenue to fraud (Ryan, 2013). This is very significant for a small business, as loosing 5% of the operating budget could have significant impacts. Understanding current practices will allow me to formulate sound risk management strategies based on my prior experiences and the scholarship afforded in the DSL program.

Management Solutions

When I was in the military, there was a saying, “leaders spend 90% of their time on the 10% who cause the problems”. Although the source is anonymous, it implies how researching management solutions strategies could help me address the 10% within Intelligent Nutrition.

As I reviewed the DSL degree completion plan, two classes, BMAL 727 Leading and Managing Effective Teams and BMAL 755 Current Topic in Coaching Theories and Practice stood out. Why? Because these two classes will augment my existing knowledge of how-to effectively lead teams in my new company. This in turn I can share with my employees as they lead their respective areas of the business.

As the name of BMAL 755 implies, the class centers on the current topics within the coaching leadership style. It could be a coincidence, but I have identified my leadership style as that of a coach or simply coaching. Nonetheless, this class will allow me to incorporate current theories into how I lead my business.


For those aspiring to obtain a Doctor of Strategic Leadership, the question of how will the degree fit into your professional career is worth answering. In my situation, this paper addressed three distinct areas where the DSL will assist in that effort. They ranged from learning about the types of strategic leadership theories to developing management solutions to workplace issues. Although the outcomes from these areas will become clearer as I progress through my studies, I am confident I have identified how these three areas can be addressed through the DSL.


Bennett, T. M. (2009). A study of the management leadership style preferred by IT subordinates. Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict, 13(2), 1-25. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/216598712?accountid=12085
Cunningham, J., Salomone, J., & Wielgus, N. (2015). Project management leadership style: A team member perspective. International Journal of Global Business, 8(2), 27-54. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1776310693?accountid=12085
Fine, L. E. (2015). Teaching Multicultural Leadership Using a Social Constructionist Approach. Journal of Leadership Education, 14(2), 209-217. doi:10.12806/V14/I2/AB1
Leadership Styles. (2017, December 31). Insurance Journal, 33(133), 08. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/apps/doc/A529395158/ITOF?u=vic_liberty&sid=ITOF&xid=1b836fbd
Merida, T., Platt, D., & Akin, D. (2015). Exalting Jesus in 1 and 2 Kings (pp. 55-70). Nashville: B&H Publishing Group.
Ryan, E. (2013). Risk management. Accountancy SA, , 40-40,42,44,46. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.liberty.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/docview/1434864471?accountid=12085


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1st April 2024

I like how you broke down your career aspirations and tied them to the DSL program. Your insights on leadership theory and strategic planning were super helpful for me. Thanks for the inspiration.

Ava Nguyen

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